Tony Brummel: Interview with Tony Brummel

—by , January 26, 2005

So then how do you scale it down to figure out what Victory puts out and what you don’t?

That’s very simple. We have to love the music collectively as a label and we have to love the artists as people.

Just that simple…

Hey man, this is not rocket science. I didn’t go to school or anything. I make these decisions on gut feelings and it’s all art. When you go into an art museum, you know if you like something or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s Gauguin, Van Gogh or something a bum on the street created.

All art is subjective. I tend to feel like I appreciate the street corner artist a lot more than the artist who is famous. I go with that.

So this may seem offbeat or whatever but when Snapcase called it a day and with Victory as a label really coming into their own as of the past year do you feel as if there is almost a changing of the guard going down?

Not necessarily. I just talked to Darryl yesterday and it reminded me of a conversation that we would have had 13, jeez…16 years ago. We talked about the same things but we’re married but we have similar interests. With Snapcase, I think it’s a shame. They exemplified everything that Victory is and for whatever reasons as the flavors of the months changed in music…in many ways…they are my heroes.

They are so respectable. They do everything in real life that they sing about in their songs and they are amazing people.

Is there a band on the label now that you feel that can carry that torch?

All of the bands carry the torch in the same way and in a different way. They are all very diverse and they are all fruit from the same tree. That’s why they end up here on the same label together.

They build relationships with each other and look out for each other and assist one another and it’s one of the things that makes us such a strong label.

So a kid has a band that he loves that nobody has found yet and decides to put something out. What advice would you pass on?

Work hard and get ready to build your company. There will be a lot of sacrifice and you will lose all of your friends. You need to be creative but there has to be a balance between that and a business sense. Have decent people skills. Over and beyond that , if you are doing it to get rich, don’t bother doing it at all.

For me, it’s never been about the money. Right now, I have a bigger chip on my shoulder than ever and that’s what drives me and that filters down to my staff.

They see the passion and hear all of the speeches. If you were here then you would be able to get it just through osmosis. Some of my staff I’m sure wouldn’t mind if I turned the intensity level down but at the end of the day they understand why it is always up.

The We Run the Streets Campaign, how did that come about with the wrapped Escalade and everything? It’s kind of a genius rap parody.

Well, we have vans too, we don’t have just the Escalade. To me the most important thing is to get the music in the community. That is just common sense. It’s our job to do that.

We bought the Escalade because it was big and it was safe. We’re not dissing hip-hop culture. It’s simply square footage. More space means more area for people to look at. Anybody who would criticize us for exposing our artists by any means necessary is on drugs.

I personally just thought it was brilliant because you are a street label in essence and it was clever. Very few labels could get away with it just because it would be a diss, just because of where their roster is coming from, if that makes any sense at all.

No, I understand, but not that much thought went into it.We needed a slogan and it was short and we needed a big vehicle.

So what does it take to work for you? Not everybody wants to be in a band but maybe somebody wants to be down. Obviously being an indie, you may be more selective than, say, BMG…

No, actually, I am hiring and they are laying people off. So first there has to be skills and then there has to be passion and a get it factor for what we are doing. I never went to school so I don’t care if you don’t understand what we do.

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